If you have a child, then you know that it is essential to inspect the mouth on a regular basis. This way, you know when there are any signs of an oral health issue. And, while you may be looking for swollen and red gums as well as dark pits in the teeth, you should also be investigating signs of white patches on the teeth. Keep reading to learn what these spots may be and also what to do about them.
When it comes to children, you are unlikely to see dark cavities in the teeth. You will instead see some white formations that look as though they are a bit lighter than the tooth enamel. These spots will also look more flat then the enamel, meaning that the sheen looks like it has been worn away. And, in fact, this is the case. As bacterial activity starts to disrupt the teeth, it starts by removing the thick and strong outer enamel coating. This occurs before the inner parts of the dentin are destroyed.
The good news is that since the white spots indicate merely the start of decay — no substantial damage has occurred just yet. So, you can work with your family dentist to prevent the larger and deeper cavities.
Your dentist will likely suggest a fluoride treatment. Depending on your child's age, this may need to occur as an in-office treatment with the fluoride topically applied to the teeth. If your child is a bit older and can spit out a fluid, then the more standard rinse may be suggested.
In addition to the treatments, your child's dentist may speak with you about an appropriate diet for your child. Diet is often the culprit when it comes to early cavity formation, and your dentist will inform you how to provide low sugar foods to keep the decay from getting worse.
Sometimes, fluoride is not the answer to the development of white formations on the teeth, but it is instead the reason why they are forming. This is called fluorosis, and it causes tooth mottling. Mottling is a term used to describe irregularities in the enamel's surface. This produces a varied sheen and texture to the area and this is a permanent issue.
Fluorosis is the result of too many mineral compounds attaching to each other and forming a harder region on the tooth. It occurs when too much fluoride is consumed either through water or oral care products. Also, if your child has received excessive amounts of fluorine at the dental office, then it can occur as well.
If you think that the white spots on your child's teeth are due to fluoride, then speak with your family dentist so the source of the fluoride can be identified and reduced.
To learn more about caring for your child's teeth, contact a family dentist in your area.